Barbados ready for major netball challenge

If David can take down Goliath, so too can the senior Barbados netball team which has been placed in pool A with big guns Australia and New Zealand at the 2015 Netball World Cup scheduled to take place in Sydney, Australia, next month.

Barbados head coach Anna Shepherd is of the view that the ultra-marine, gold and black can be represented well if the team remains focused

Barbados head coach Anna Shepherd
Barbados head coach Anna Shepherd

“The girls have been working with the guys really hard, twice a day and having done the best that we could with our preparation it is just for them to remain focused and anything is possible,” she told Barbados TODAY.

Shepherd noted that preparation for the August 7 to 16 World Cup had not been ideal but under the circumstances they had done the best that they could. “We would have loved some more warm-up games and even go in earlier to get some practice games but financial constraints did not allow that,” Shepherd said.

Sixteen nations will contest the 2015 World Cup that occurs every four years and Barbados are in a tough pool with the world’s number one and hosts Australia, the number two ranked New Zealand and fellow Caribbean territory Trinidad and Tobago.

Many are of the view that the Trident ladies will need a miracle to actually get past two of the best teams in world netball and even though the odds may be against them, Shepherd does not believe that the task ahead is impossible.

“We have been looking back at previous games we played at the Commonwealth Games and the girls have been watching and realizing that it is not impossible for us to take them down [Australia and New Zealand]. David took down Goliath and we went to church on Sunday morning and that was the preacher’s message. He spoke about challenges and used David and Goliath as an example and I am not sure if he chose it because we were there but it was very fitting for us,” the experienced coach noted.

Even if Barbados ladies do not win one of the most prestigious titles in world netball, Shepherd is hoping they can at least improve on their ranking from ninth position to somewhere in the top five. One positive the Bajan girls can take with them into the World Cup is the fact that Trinidad and Tobago are ranked one place below them in tenth position.

Shepherd told Barbados TODAY that the defence has proven to be the strongest aspect of Barbados’ game, especially during practice and they would be seeking to use that to their advantage.

“There is a big rivalry going on between the attack and the defence at practice and the defence urges the attack to come at us and beat us. But how the game is made up, everybody has to attack, everybody has to defend and all a coach can ask is that everybody gives of her best.

“Our aim is to play quarter by quarter. We are not looking at the whole game, we will look at the whole game at the end. So our aim is to win as many quarters as possible,” explained Shepherd, who also pointed out that her girls were talented and if everybody gave of her best they could come out victorious.

 There have been 14 previous World Cups and this will mark Barbados eighth appearance at the games. They finished second behind Trinidad and Tobago at the 2014 Americas qualifying tournament.

Sandra Bruce has been named assistant to Shepherd while the squad which departs on Monday for Sydney, will be led by captain Rhe-Ann Niles with Latonia Blackman as her second-in-command. Other members include the experienced Shonette Azore-Bruce, Shanice Rock, Kizzy Marville, Samantha Browne, Sabreena Smith, Cherise Seale, Shonica Wharton, Faye Sealy, Nikita Piggott and Sheniqua Thomas.

One Response to Undaunted

  1. ch August 4, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    David did not beat Goliath by cautious optimism. He beat him because he believed he could it and he put his mind and his heart fully behind it, without doubt and without fear.
    As a shepherd, he had already conditioned his body and his mind to confront dangerous situations. He was ready.
    I’m always annoyed by this timid, self-defeating approach in our sports people- players, coaches and administrators- who talk about “gaining experience”, “improving ranking”, and the vague “doing your best”.
    You go into competition to win or you stay at home. You train to win through discipline, sacrifice and just doing the hard work. It must be the constant focus until you have achieved it.
    Talent alone is not enough.
    Your strategic plan must involve the financing it takes to build the athlete and the team. You either commit yourself to this or you stay at home. Our administrators are not serious.
    Vince Lombardi is often considered as the greatest NFL coach of all time and he said this:
    ” Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”


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